In a tight economy, it's not always clear what you should spend your hard-earned money on, and with comic books getting more and more expensive, your dollar doesn’t go as far at the comic shop as it did in the past. We here at Complex feel your pain, so we're providing you with a rundown of the best comics coming out on August 31, 2011.
Justice League #1
What it’s about: Well, the DC relaunch is finally upon us. Noticing that fans had grown weary of the company’s difficult continuity and disappointing stories, DC decided to be proactive about the situation and give their whole comic book line a makeover.
All of your favorite heroes are still alive and kicking, but their back-stories have been streamlined and their comic titles relaunched from the beginning. DC will begin this new take on their universe with Justice League #1, written by Geoff Johns, with art by Jim Lee.
This debut storyline will detail how the League came to be and how the team slowly gained the trust of an apprehensive public. Don’t expect this first issue to solve every question or reaffirm your faith in superheroes; there's a lot of ground to cover and it may take a couple of months for Justice League to really settle into a groove. But with a little patience, JL should be welcoming to new fans looking to get into superhero comics for the first time and old fans who gave up on the funny-books long ago.
Johns, as always, has a solid grasp on DC's main characters; on his end, Jim Lee will certainly provide his usual coating of flash. The only thing that might hinder this book from being a complete success, though, is if the scripts cover too much familiar ground over the first few months. Other than that, expect Justice League to be the company's premier title for a long time.
What it’s about: Flashpoint serves as both DC’s yearly crossover book and the plot point that begins the company's relaunch. Following Barry Allen, a.k.a. the Flash, as he's suddenly thrown into an alternate timeline, Flashpoint explores a dark world where some of the Earth’s mightiest heroes are now villains, and one-time villains are potential allies.
As the Flash attempts to navigate this bizarre reality, he must depend on a twisted version of Batman (actually Thomas Wayne in this world) and Cyborg to help stop a war between Aquaman’s kingdom of Atlantis and Wonder Woman’s Amazons.
What to expect this month: If you're picking up both Flashpoint and Justice League, be sure to read Flashpoint first, because it flows right into the events of Justice League. With the Flash, Batman, and Cyborg struggling to stop the Atlantis/Amazon conflict, they must also contend with the homicidal Professor Zoom, all while Barry Allen tries to find his way back home.
Every question will be answered and the mystery behind DC’s “New 52” will finally be revealed here. It’s a whole lot to take in, so if you haven’t read the series up until now, don’t bother starting with Flashpoint #5; just pick up the relaunch titles. But for the well-initiated, it's an essential title in DC's history just as Crisis On Infinite Earths #12 was decades ago.
Amazing Spider-Man #668
What it’s about: Dan Slott has been writing Amazing Spider-Man consistently for a few years now, and under his guidance the Wall Crawler has gone from gasping for air in a sea of mediocre storylines to, once again, starring in one of Marvel’s best books. Slott has reinvigorated Peter Parker’s world and added romantic drama, real world issues, and a metric-ton of action to boot.
From reimagining classic villains to creating brand new characters that feel like the classics, Slott knows Spider-Man inside and out; it's no stretch to praise him as the best Spidey writer in the past decade.
What to expect this month: Slott’s multi-part opera, Spider Island, continues this month as the Web Slinger must get to the bottom of the Jackal’s mysterious plague that has granted all of New York with spider powers. But with every civilian, love interest, and two-bit criminal now sticking to walls and swinging around the city, Spider-Man has a lot of distractions in his way.
So far, Spider Island has been superior to Marvel’s much more anticipated Fear Itself storyline, mainly because of its sharp writing, sense of humor, and unique art by Humberto Ramos. Anyone looking to get away from the typical comic-event fare should take a look at Spider Island for its old-school emphasis on fun rather than pointless continuity.
Mighty Thor #5
What it’s about: Marvel may have put a shitload of emphasis on overblown crossover events like Fear Itself and Secret Invasion over the past few years, but it’s their solo titles that have been the company’s real source of creativity. Alongside Captain America and Daredevil, Mighty Thor is Marvel’s most successful comic currently on shelves, and thankfully it doesn't depend on shock value for quality.
Combining the more accessible characterizations that were featured in the character’s big screen debut, along with aspects of Thor’s long-running mythology, Mighty Thor is a title that is appealing to both new and longtime fans of the character. And with art by the incredible Olivier Coipel, Mighty Thor might also be Marvel’s best looking book.
What to expect this month: Thor continues his battle with the Silver Surfer on the surface of Mars, as his Asgardian brothers and sisters must fight off Galactus, devourer of worlds. Meanwhile, Volstagg must defend Asgard against the ever-increasing anger of the citizens of Broxton, Oklahoma.
This is comic book action at its finest as writer Matt Fraction is allowed more creative freedom, as opposed to his work on Marvel’s crossovers. He might not be the second coming of Walt Simonson or Joe Michael Straczynski, but Fraction’s interpretation of Thor is still among some of the better ones in recent memory.
New Teen Titans Omnibus
What it’s about: In the ‘80s, The New Teen Titans was one of the hottest books at DC. Writer Marv Wolfman created a team of junior superheroes (including Robin, Cyborg, Kid Flash, and others) that instantly appealed to younger readers. But the book wasn’t only for kids; New Teen Titans boasted sophisticated scripts and art with an eye on quality storytelling that transcended age groups.
This oversized omnibus features the Titans' first 16 issues and their DC Comics Presents #26 debut. This book is gargantuan in size and, because of its high price tag, should only be picked up by dedicated readers.
Featuring villains like Deathstroke the terminator, Trigon, and even a short spat with the Justice League of America, the stories packed into this release perfectly encapsulate what made DC so successful during the ‘80s: detailed plots, fantastic art, real villains, and risky storylines.